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UGS 302: Social Movement Organization / Wright

How to develop / refine your topic

Manageable research topics

Did you receive feedback on your topic proposal that you need to get more specific? Narrower? More focused? That you need to 'unpack' something? This feedback can be addressed with some background information searching.

Look for the following:

  • controversies - why do people care and what are they arguing about?
  • people - who has been impacted and who is offering solutions?
  • unfamiliar terms, works and concepts - often the most promising leads are what one might call 'bycatch'. This is when you set out to find one specific thing, but you catch a bunch of new and strange things instead. These may be conversations to investigate because, often, they are coming up in your search results for a good reason.
  • dead ends and forks in the road - sometimes your first idea is not your best idea - what initially made you curious was a dead end. But rarely did you not learn something along the way. As you learn more about your initial topic, be ready to give up on it and pursue new leads.

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